Tregonning & Associates' MatchCom Referee
Talkback System was a world's first
and originally designed for the introduction of a
Video Referee into Rugby League or the TMO (Television
Match Official) in Rugby Union whilst additionally
supplying the necessary feeds to
both TV and radio broadcasters, all being controlled
from the MatchCom base unit. It is marketed to top
end users in various sporting competitions and has
set a new standard for reliability in sports communications.
Over a period of time, a number of our MatchCom clients
asked the same question. "Would it be possible
to design a "cut down" system that could
deliver the same quality and reliability?" If
so, referees and match officials in lower grades of
competition could experience a similar revolution
to what MatchCom has achieved for A grade Rugby League
and Rugby Union competitions!
Over several years, we have been working on such a
system that can deliver the best sports communications
available without the sophistication of MatchCom
and its operators. A communication system that also
delivers value for money and reliability for lower
Prior to the introduction of MatchCom, "Talking
Flags" were traditionally being used by
Referees for both Rugby and Rugby League. The technology
"jump" for Referees from "Talking Flags"
or Motorola "walkie talkie" based systems
to MatchCom is enormous! Also problematical,
is that "Talking Flags" were a "one
way" device designed for the 2 Touch Judges
to talk to the Referee but without allowing the Touch
Judges to hear the Referee.
In late 2002, prompted by requests from Russell Trotter,
then the Referee Manager of the ARU (Australian Rugby
Union) and George Ayoub, then the Referee Manager
of NSW Rugby, we investigated, sourced, designed,
modified and built a system we are very excited about.
The results of this project have exceeded what was
The system is called RefTalk. This is not a
replacement for MatchCom but it sits on the
"Technology Scale" somewhere between "Talking
Flags" and MatchCom. The quality is very similar
to MatchCom in most aspects of its operation.
How does it vary in specification from MatchCom? After
a short familiarisation period, an operator is not
required. The Referees are able to load the vests,
change the batteries etc. The end-user's (Referees
and Touch Judges) operation and use of it, is the
same as MatchCom, in fact, we are using the same RVC
(Referee's Communication Vests) and earpieces.
There is no base station (unlike MatchCom) and there
are no facilities for a Video Referee (T.M.O.) or
integration and audio feeds to a TV Broadcaster. It
provides the same two-way communications between the
Referee and the Touch Judges as MatchCom does without
the extended facilities not required at this level
of competition. As with MatchCom, it is also possible
for an Assessor or Referee Coaches to have "Listen
Only" receivers and earpieces and similarly a
feed to a DVD record systems.
The Main Referee only hears the TJs when they PTT
(Push to Talk) as they do with MatchCom. The Main
Referee does not hear himself in his earpiece, that
is, he has no "sidetone" as per MatchCom.
The referees do not have an issue with this. The TJs
do, however, have "sidetone"
and can hear themselves and their counterpart when
either of them PTT to talk to the Referee.
The TJs hear the Referee constantly as an "open"
microphone, again the same as MatchCom.
The audio signal to the Assessors and or Coaches and
the DVD recorder is a "mix" of the Main
Referee as a constant "open" microphone
with the Touch Judges opening their microphones only
with their PTT switches.
The rental pricing of RefTalk is variable depending
on how many Receivers are required for Assessors etc.
The system is totally flexible to specific needs on
a game by game basis. We
are only offering RefTalk as a rental product
which means that you hire a system or systems
for a game or the season. The primary issue with purchasing
any electronic gear, is how quickly
it becomes obsolete. To give you an example, the only
component in the current MatchCom system that is from
the original 1996 design is the roadbox. So, as soon
as something better is available we incorporate it.
Our RefTalk Client list so far is:
The NSWRL (New South Wales Rugby League) for
their following competitions:
Ron Massey Cup
The NRL (National Rugby League) - Holden Cup.
The QLDRL (Queensland Rugby League) - QLD
The NSWRU (New South Wales Rugby Union) -
Tooheys' New Cup and the Shute Shield.
Australian Rugby Union (non-televised games)
Auckland Rugby Union, New Zealand.
NZRUs ITM Cup
Welsh Rugby Union.
In the 10 years that RefTalk has been in existence,
we have found that it is also ideal for the Rugby
By incorporating 9 RefTalk systems, it allows
us to wire up 36 officials and have two operators
that rotate on and off the field. To date, we have
supplied RefTalk for the Wellington Sevens
every year from 2003 to 2013 and the RWC Sevens 2005
in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sevens 2006 to 2012, the
Singapore Sevens 2005 and 2006, the Adelaide Sevens
2007 to 2009, the
Gold Coast Sevens 2009 to 2013 as well as the Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne in 2006.
I think the best way for anyone to decide on a talkback
system is to trial both our
MatchCom and RefTalk systems against any
"rival" system that might be out there.
We are confident our systems are the best available
in the world today.
regarding RefTalk should be sent to